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Tuesday 12 September 2023

A taste of Italy that won't break the bank

Well-made Italian wines that are age worthy, but ready to drink now?

If that is your desire, then the wines under the Astrale label - imported into Australia by Single Vineyard Sellers - are well worth a look.

Unlike many Italian producers, Astrale does not have a pedigree dating back centuries.

The business was founded in 2011 as a negociant-style operation, making wines using fruit from several different regions.

Winemaker Peppe Randazzo (below) is originally from Avola in Sicily and has 20+ years of experience. 

He and his team travelled across different Italian wine regions to meet with local grape growers, sourcing fruit from the best vintages, while maintaining a Tuscan focus from a base in Castellina in Chianti.

Currently available in Australia are three red wines where I found it difficult to find a definitive favourite.

The 2022 Astrale Chianti DOCG is a smooth, food-friendly wine with classic sangiovese red fruit characters to the fore, and a steal at $20.

The unusual NV Astrale Rosso ($40) - a blend of primitivo, sangiovese, montepulciano and Nero d’Avola across several regions - is more savoury and herbal but has plenty of depth and freshness and would pair well with dishes like rabbit ragu.

Probably the pick, though, is the 2019 Astrale Chianti Riserva ($40), with its layers of darker sangiovese fruit flavours, earthiness, well-integrated oak and soft tannins. Lovely stuff. 

The appeal of Randazzo's wines to an Australia audience should not be as surprise. His CV includes vintage stints at Leasingham and Chalk Hill, as well as at Nobilo in New Zealand 

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